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Destination Dubai this winter
- International hot spots score over domestic getaways

The warmth of West Asia is calling chill-numbed residents of Ranchi.

International destinations such as Dubai are likely to beat domestic holiday haunts this winter, if advance bookings for the Christmas and New Year are anything to go by.

Destinations like Singapore and Sri Lanka too are scoring over domestic travel with many people opting to fly out of the country. The main reason being the affordability of these holiday spots. In some cases, they even turn out to be cheaper than a trip within the country.

But, what makes Dubai the most popular choice is that it is a buy-buy paradise. With the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival round the corner, many residents from the capital are planning in such a way that the extravaganza coincides with their trip.

According to Ranchi-based travel agents, they have booked approximately 1,000-1,500 tickets for Dubai already.

The tour packages start from Rs 45,000 per person for four nights, five days. For a longer holiday, lets say for seven nights, eight days, the cost shoots up to Rs 60,000 per person. The packages include airfares, meals, accommodation and sightseeing.

Proprietor of Skyline Travels Sony Mehta said, “We have booked around 200 tickets for Dubai. Hong Kong and Sri Lanka are also attracting many tourists.”

On why Dubai topped the popularity charts, Mehta added: “The shopping festival is one of the most happening things on the planet and people do not wish to miss it. Hence, Singapore, Thailand and Bangkok have taken the back seat.”

The tour packages for Sri Lanka (5N/6D) is Rs 40,000, while that for Hong Kong (6N/7D) is Rs 80,000.

Desi destinations like Goa is hardly a preferred choice this season. “We just have a few bookings for Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” she added.

Echoing Mehta, branch in-charge of SOTC Anirudh Singh said, “Of course, we have the most enquiries for Dubai. Our package for a 3N/4D stay at the dream destination starts from Rs 25,000. We have already booked around 35 tickets.”

“My daughter wants to visit the shopping festival. Hence, we decided to visit Dubai to celebrate New Year,” said Namkum businessman Raman Kumar, who will leave Ranchi with his family for a five-day trip on December 27.

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